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The Miami Heat will be without forward Udonis Haslem and center Dexter Pittman for Thursday`s Game 6 against the Indiana Pacers after the NBA suspended both players for separate flagrant fouls. Haslem received a one-game suspension while Pittman will miss the next three games, the NBA announced.
Pittman received a flagrant foul after he came across the lane and used his forearm and elbow to blast the Pacers` Lance Stephenson after a made shot with 19.4 seconds left in Tuesday night`s Game 5. Stephenson had taunted Lebron James earlier in the series by flashing a choke signal after James missed a pair of free throws during Game 3. They made Stephenson pay for that choke sign to James in Game 2 and showed the Pacers and everyone else standing between Miami and a championship that theyll defend their star. And they did it with Pittman, a player the Heat could afford to take a suspension without costing the team.
Haslem was given his flagrant after he fouled Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough across the face in Game 5. Hansbrough had hit Dwayne Wade earlier in the game for a flagrant foul. The NBA upgraded all three fouls to flagrant type-twos, but Hansbrough was not suspended.
Rest assured, Heat president Pat Riley loved Udonis Haslems flagrant foul on Tyler Hansbrough and, yes, Pittmans assault on Stephenson in Game 5. Nevertheless, the Pacers introduced the physical play into this series, and the Heat merely has escalated it. Whatever happens, it always comes back to Lebron James. Someones going to get hit on Thursday night and, rest assured, James will brace for this truth: If the Pacers are going down in this series, theyll probably try to take someone with them. Through it all, though, this Miami Heat has James back, and that could go a long, long way for them on their championship chase.